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What Is Live:

If you look at the Seven Steps of Self Protection you see that the first three: Self-worth, Awareness and Prevention are levels of understanding that you use all the time but that the last four skills, Evasion, Escape, Defense and Defeat are only used once violence occurs. While it is our intent as a company to provide you with information that will be of benefit to you in all seven areas, Lessons In Violence Evasion is designed and specializes in helping you to evade and escape a violent situation.

We’re not talking about turning you into a prizefighter or teaching you to overcome and defeat an attacker. We can’t do that in a short period of time. Learning to defeat an opponent takes years of training with highly qualified instructors but if your focus in a violent situation is to escape instead of overcoming your attacker you can learn to get away.

Escaping a violent situation involves moving toward open space away from restriction. Like water when it flows in the direction of least resistance, the idea is to find the simplest movement to escape danger.

Think about it. This is not about fighting like two male rams clashing horns over a territorial dispute. It is about a predator-prey relationship. Simply put, you don’t often see a gazelle turn around and punch the #*@&! out of a lion but it can use its natural abilities to escape.

Women and children have become prey in our society. The men that commit these crimes are not living by our societal and cultural rules. They are acting out of a predator’s mentality. In simplest terms the mentality of a predator in nature is to take what they want from the most convenient target they can find. These men are attempting to feed their ego by controlling another person.

We need to learn from prey in nature how to survive. The good news is that every creature on this planet has the drive to survive and an innate ability to escape from predators. You can do the same.

Learning To Defeat an Attacker Is The Hard Part...

It takes years of study in self-defense in order to learn how to overcome and control an opponent in a violent situation. The majority of self-defense courses are about fighting not escaping. These courses tend to be designed by men and generally utilize fighting concepts derived from three different areas: traditional martial arts, competitive sport martial systems, and law enforcement. Each of these martial systems is extremely effective for its original purpose and the people creating self-defense classes based on them all have an earnest desire to help women. It’s just the principles being applied may not be the most efficient answer for women.

The traditional martial arts are very structured and teach techniques that must be done exactly as presented…when this happens you do this, etc. This makes sense if you understand the concept of Budo (the way of martial arts). Judo, aikido, karate-do and many other Budo arts were created as gentlemanly arts that were designed for personal development and character building; you strive to perform the techniques and forms to perfection as a way to push yourself beyond your current capabilities. To this end they have been extremely successful but to take this approach when teaching self defense, where the situations encountered are impossible to predict, providing an exact answer is just not possible.

Competitive martial systems are based on defeating your opponent not escaping from them. They can build confidence and determination but size, speed and strength play a major role. That is why they have weight, age and gender divisions in these competitions. The reality is that on average men are bigger, stronger and meaner than women. In a fight this gives the advantage to men. To take a competitive attitude in a self-defense situation, trying to win versus trying to escape could put women at risk.

Pain compliance techniques (joint locks) are extremely effective and are used quite well by law enforcement personnel. These trained professionals use pain compliance along with backup and superior force to control dangerous situations. When these techniques are used the law enforcement personnel are more often then not the superior force in the confrontation. This is not the case for women in most violent situations.
Instead of knocking yourself out trying to defeat someone in a fight, you can now learn to escape from violence using your natural strengths and capabilities with a new concept called:

Lessons In Violence Evasion™

Lessons In Violence Evasion is not about overcoming your attacker; it’s about freeing yourself from the attack. We’re not saying that it is the answer for every situation. It’s not.

There are times in a violent situation that you may have to fight (possibly defending loved ones or if the attacker is intent on murder) and we promote on going training to learn the skills of defense and defeat but your first goal should always be to evade and escape.

Lessons In Violence Evasion is based upon a scientific and experiential knowledge of violence combined with an understanding of the needs and capabilities of women today. Violence evasion utilizes natural movements, principles and laws of nature, along with physical sensitivity. You discover how to be aware of the forces of violence and use the space around them to escape and survive.

But don't take our word for it, here's what reporters and seminar attendees are saying about this unique program:

“They (Theresa and Dennis) are quick to emphasize, however, this class is not about martial arts. The women are taught to rely on their intuition and use movement that is natural to them to escape a potentially violent situation.” - Women on the Defense by Sarah Cail, NECC Observer

“The techniques don’t rely on extensive training and instead flow naturally off the untrained human body’s reaction to being attacked. With this understanding, LIVE, or Lessons In Violence Evasion teaches women to get away from a would be attacker without using force against force, an often losing proposition when a smaller woman is pitted against a larger man…The techniques are similar to a small child who wants “down,” struggling and then suddenly going limp in their parent’s arms and sliding out to freedom. The child essentially uses their natural reactions to get away from their mother or father.” - Escaping the Fear by Eric Baxter, Salem Observer

“The program was just unbelievable. There was a small girl there, about 7 years old, and she did great. We also want to focus on teenagers and the ones at the last seminar said they walked away feeling more confident. The same with the college students, who said they felt much better after taking the seminar.” - Marie Miceli, owner A-Plus Fitness for Ladies in Salem NH.

“Thanks so much for the work you’re doing; it may well save one of our lives!” - Deborah C. Seminar attendee.

“I was pleasantly surprised to find the instructions were never complicated and it was very easy to understand. I suggest this course for anyone who wants to feel confident in any threatening situation and who does not have time to pursue training in martial arts.” – Deborah M. Seminar attendee.

Unlike most everything available LIVE is a true blending of science and personal experience. The principles of escape and evasion that Dennis has learned over the years were filtered through Theresa, not only as a woman but also as someone who has experienced violence.

Attacks from actual stories, experiences and crime statistics were reenacted. Theresa was put through the situation as close to real as possible to see how she would react and what she was capable of doing. In the beginning these sessions were, mentally and emotionally, extremely painful for Theresa and then later, as she got better, quite often physically painful for Dennis.

The principles from these discovery sessions were tested over a two-year period in developmental seminars with hundreds of women. From the research, testing and interviews with these women an answer emerged. That answer is what we call LIVE: Lessons In Violence Evasion.


The Origins of LIVE: Lessons In Violence Evasion

In the mid 1990’s I attended a woman’s self-defense clinic sponsored by one of the local police departments to see what was currently available. The first speaker (a man) spoke about the importance of prevention, all the things women should do or not do to prevent violence. There was a woman seated next to me in the auditorium and I heard her mumble, “I did that” after each suggestion.

The next speaker (another man) was a martial arts instructor from the area who proceeded to teach three or four set techniques about when they grab you here strike here and so on. The woman mumbled again something to the affect of “doesn’t work when you’re smaller”. It became clear to me this woman had been through some type of violent situation.

The final speaker (yes another man) was a police officer who spoke of what you should do if you are raped, not showering, going to the hospital, 911 procedures, etc…

The woman at this point, exasperated, said quite clearly “I want to know how to get away. When is someone going to teach that?”

At the end of the clinic I introduced myself to her and told her I may be able to help her learn how to escape. She was skeptical because I was a “martial arts” instructor, but she listened and for the next hour we worked on some simple principles of escaping. I hadn’t prepared anything at that time; we just worked off her questions wherever they led. When we were done she told me she had learned more about escaping in that short time than with all the other classes she had attended before.

It had worked. Now I had to figure out how to teach this to others. That story is in chapter one of A Different Ending: Lessons In Violence Evasion. You can receive chapter one free on our LIVE for Women page on the bottom right hand side.

Lessons In Violence Evasion™ is a completely new way of looking at self protection but it is based on more than a thousand years of proven defense principles. We have been extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to train with some amazing people over the years. There are four men however that we must acknowledge and thank. Without their influence and generosity LIVE may never have been possible.

First, Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi. Dr. Hatsumi is the head of the Bujinkan Dojo and the source of all our knowledge. He is the link between over a millennia of martial tradition and the current generation of practitioners. The immensity of having been able to meet and train with this man is hard to put into words. It would be like having studied the theory of relativity with Albert Einstein or studying meditation and spirituality with the Dali Lama. We are eternally indebted to him for sharing his arts with the world.

Stephen K. Hayes. Without Stephen Hayes we would most likely never have been introduced to the wonder of Dr. Hatsumi. He is the proverbial adventurer who brought back the hidden treasures of the East. Stephen is among other things an actor, author, ordained Buddhist priest, security expert (protected the Dali Lama), teacher, founder of To Shin Do martial system, husband and father. His accomplishments could fill the biographies of five lifetimes. Yet he is one of the most humble, honest and giving people I have ever had the privilege of knowing. It was he who blazed the path that the rest of us have followed.

My teacher Mark Davis, owner of The Boston Martial Arts Center, is one of the most formidable martial artists I have ever met. It is not however his amazing skill, incredible martial arts knowledge, or his somewhat intimidating physical size that stands out most about Mark. It is his heart. Webster’s dictionary defines the adjective “patient” as calmly tolerating delay and confusion. I can never repay the debt I owe Mark for the infinite patience he has held in his heart while I worked through my confusion over the years. I have learned more from him then anyone else in my life.

Ken Savage the senior member of The Boston Martial Arts Center. There is an axiom: “Lead by example”. Ken Savage is the embodiment of that phrase. Whenever I had any doubt or confusion about the lessons being taught I need only look to my right and follow Ken’s lead. He has been and continues to be the standard by which I measure my progress.

And finally Theresa and I would both like to thank all our training partners. One definition of a good friend is someone you could call in the middle of the night, who would come help you, no questions asked, no hesitation they would be there. These people all meet that definition. We are fortunate to have so many good friends.


Rape Information:

Rape: Any penetration of a person’s bodily orifice (vagina, mouth, anus) by another person’s body part (finger, penis, tongue) or object committed against the person’s will by force or threat of force.

Rape is not a sexually motivated crime. Rape is an act of violence, the attacker rapes out of anger or for a feeling of power and control.

Only about 6% of rapes involved the use of a weapon - three percent used a gun and three percent used a knife. Eighty percent of victims reported the use of physical force only and 10% were unsure.

Rape victims range in age from infancy to the elderly. Victims can be of either sex, sexual orientation and come from all economic and racial groups

Ages 12 to 34 are the highest risk years for rape. Risk peaks in the late teens: girls 16 to 19 are four times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape or sexual assault.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation estimates that one out of four females will be sexually abused or raped before age 20.

Sexual violence remains the most dramatically under reported crime, with an estimated two-thirds of attacks unreported.

Post Rape - Sexual Assault Changes

Women who have been raped often share common feelings that change as time passes. The time line of these changes is in no way set in stone it is only a reference. Each woman is unique and will react in her own natural way.

In the first few days and months after a rape most women experience a sense of shock often to the point of denial. There may be actual physical pain accompanied by an overall disempowerment. They feel vulnerable and may have an overwhelming fear of the attacker. These feelings are sometimes accompanied by flashbacks that are expressed as misderected anger, humiliation or guilt. At this early stage she may have communcation problems as she struggles with the issue of disclosure about the event.

After the first few months through the first year she may have a very altered lifestyle having to deal with the criminal justice system and a realigned support network. Life tends to be full of stress and new phobias including a generalized fear of attack. Physically there could be somatic symptoms, sleep disorders, eating disorders, or sexual dysfunction all occuring. Emotionally many women experience a sense of loss, depression and sellf blame as they try to reorganize their sense of reality.

Even if women are able after that first year to intergrate the event into their reality they may still have occasional flashbacks that are brought on by some perceptual or sensational trigger. There may also be periods of depression that coincide with the anniversary of the trauma.

Trauma is the correct word for this. Women that have been raped very often have the symptoms of posttraumatic depression. They should be treated with no less respect and care than we would any other traumatic victim.

The hard part is that they often don’t seek help due to the loss of self-esteem. Women we interviewed told us that they had feelings of self-loathing and worthlessness. Some feel ugly, dirty, or like damaged goods. They feel they are unlovable. One woman asked, “Who would want me? Who would love me?”

Some loose desire for sexuality. Personal sensuality or self-beauty becomes associated with fear, immorality or foreboding, the idea that only bad things come of it. Another response was that sex becomes valueless, something that is just done as an inevitability of a relationship or date. Giving yourself to someone isn’t something special because you’re not something special.

A lot of the women are afraid to tell others about their rape because they fear their reactions. They’re afraid that they will be viewed as someone dirty or worthless, confirming their feelings of themselves. They’re afraid they may lose their friendship and love. And in their diminished state of self worth the thought of losing that is too much.

If you know someone who has been raped, let them know that they’re OK, that you love them and care for them and that the rape hasn’t changed them in your eyes. If they need help contact a local crisis center or call one of the organizations below.


Abuse: The Cycle of Violence

Most abusive situations follow a predictable pattern. The time frame of each phase differs in every relationship and cycle. But the cycle is always there and won’t stop without a change.

The Storm Gathers
The first phase has an increase of tension between the partners. Insults, outburst of anger and arguments become more and more frequent. The woman is in a constant state of stress and fear not knowing what is going to set him off. She feels as if she is walking on eggshells.

Thunder and Lightning Strike
The second phase is the actual abuse. It can take any form including physical assault, verbal abuse or sexual abuse.

Rainbows and Sunshine?
Afterward the abuser will be calmer and apologetic. He will minimize the event; make excuses for it, blaming her or denying it outright. He’ll promise to change and tell her it will never happen again. As time goes by, the cycle tightens and this calm period shrinks and may disappear altogether.

You can’t stop him any more than you could stop a real storm. Your only option is to get out of the storm. It’s not going to get any better.

Abuse Checklist

Are you being abused? If you answer yes to any of these questions you should talk to someone at a domestic abuse crisis center. Most have 24/7 access and all are 100% confidential. If you can’t find one in your local phone book contact one of the organizations below.

Have you experienced…

  • Any form of unwanted physical contact done with violent or controlling intent?

  • Any use of force, threats, or coercion to obtain sex?

  • Any intimidation used to threaten, scare or control you?

  • Any destruction of your possessions or property including abuse to pets?

  • Any form of restraint ranging from physical control to imprisonment?

  • Any form of berating including shouting, criticism or harassment?

  • Any pressure or threats physical or otherwise used to control you?

  • Any isolation or separation from friends, family or others used to control and manipulate you?

  • Any form of withholding; financial, day to day support or information used to maintain control?

During the cycle of violence often times the most confusing time is after the violence when he says he’s sorry. You have to ask yourself has he really changed?

Ask yourself…

  • Has he completely stopped saying and doing things that frighten you?

  • Can you express your opinions and concerns without fear?

  • Does he respect your wishes about sex and physical contact?

  • Has he stopped expecting you to do things for him?

  • Can you do things that are important to you, such as go to school, get a job, or spend time with friends without being afraid of retaliation?

  • Are you comfortable with the way he interacts with the children and feel safe leaving the children alone with him?

When you are in the middle of the situation it is often difficult for you to judge. Here are some signposts that he is NOT changing:

  • Minimizing his abuse, trying to make it sound like a lot less than it really is.

  • Blaming you for what happened or telling you that you are the abusive one.

  • Trying to get you or the children to feel sorry for him telling you that you owe him another chance.

  • Saying that he can’t change without your support.

  • Pressuring you to go to couples counseling.

  • Expecting something in return from you for the fact that he’s attending a program.

  • Neglecting to attend intervention program meetings, missing counseling sessions, or dropping out of the program.

  • Pressuring you to make up your mind about the relationship or to get back together.

  • Pressuring you to drop criminal charges or your restraining order.

  • Any violence.



Helpful Links for Women National Center for Injury Prevention and Control Roots of Empathy National Domestic Violence Hotline National Coalition Against Domestic Violence The YWCA RAINN The National Sexual Assault Hotline National Sexual Violence Resource Center The White Ribbon Campaign: Men working to end men’s violence against women.

The above listings are for informational purposes only and do not imply any endorsement of Optimum Performance Consulting, LLC or any of its products or services.



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